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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  March 23, 2011 8:00pm-9:00pm EDT

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for all she did for aids long before the government did anything, then treat yourself to one of the great movies ever made. go see "a place in the sun" and find out what young men's dreams of made of. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "the last word with lawrence o'donnell" starts right now. secretary of state hillary clinton said late today that the quickest way to end military action in libya is for moammar gadhafi to leave libya. good luck with that. >> president obama is headed back to washington, d.c. early. >> start easing some of the tension coming from capitol hill. >> the president heads home ahead of schedule and is welcomed by this. >> president obama is playing soccer in rio with kids and hillary clinton seems to be weirdly stepping up. >> this is about as badly run as any foreignrepeal obamacare.
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>> the president talks about libya d s ipou amic >> t esendori ot iolicg. ebe judging diplomater efforts on this trip. >> we are supporting a democratic revolution there. >> they've got a political problem. >> today it looks like a war, sound like a war, people are dying, and it's costing an awful lot of money. isn't that a war? >> america, at "not war". >> we will continue to provide details to the american people. >> you don't even seem to think enough of us to lie to us. >> the administration is defending its biggest victory on its first anniversary. >> fdr went so far as to call it a fundamental right for all americans. >> in short, we'll do whatever we can to ensure that obamacare is never fully implemented.
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>> one year ago today. >> health insurance reform because law in america. >> took a long time. >> congressman anthony weiner joins us. while some republicans were attacking the president on libya and the healthcare bill, two from minnesota went to iowa. ♪ if i find my way to minnesota ♪ >> and donald trump, is he serious about running. >> trump came out as a birther, which is republican for "i'm running for president." good evening. president obama skipped a visit to address growing concerns over the libyan war efforts. he plans to transfer command and control in the next few days, suffered a setback when nato failed to reach agreement to assume that role. all 28 nato states must approve any agreement. the muslim nation of turkey is
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dissenting, repeating a term used by russian prime minister putin, he told reporters it would be impossible for us to share responsibility in an operation that some authorities have described as a crusade. jay carney reassured reporters an agreement was imminent. >> we've made progress each day, and expect to have this transition in place in a matter of days. >> in tripoli today, allied aircraft fired on gadhafi's compound, the same compound from which gadhafi told supporters yesterday this assault is by a bunch of fascists that will end up in the dust bin of history. secretary of state hillary clinton took her turn at trying to undermine gadhafi's remaining support. >> it will be up to gadhafi and his insiders to determine what their next steps are.
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but we would certainly encourage that they would make the right decision, and not only institute a real comprehensive survivor but withdraw from the cities and end military actions and prepare for a transition that does not include colonel gadhafi. >> a doctor at misrata hospital told "the washington post" this no-fly zone doesn't mean anything to us because gadhafi only had a few planes and they were doing nothing. we need a no drive zone because it is tanks and snipers that are killing us. joining me now, assistant secretary of state during the clinton administration, bloomberg view executive editor jamie rubin. thanks for being here. >> good to be with you. >> how can the administration get unanimous agreement from nato? >> i think they have to push harder. one of the problems is they want the advantages of burden sharing, in other words, sharing
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the burdens with other countries, they spent a lot of time today talking about how we're sharing the costs, but i think as a practical matter, if we're going to have nato involved, the united states needs to step up a little bit more and take a leadership role. i think we can get the turks in the end, but it has been wrangling with the french and british. multi lateralism is not only not easy to say, it is not easy to do, but has great advantages, but it is not as smooth and simple as the united states doing everything as quickly and easily as we'd like to. >> is there any alternative to nato? >> in this case, i think the alternatives would be a mistake. nato is very close to libya. nato experienced doing this. most of the nato countries are on board, i think it's just taking a little bit too much time. >> listen to more of what president obama had to say today. >> land invasion is out of the
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question. absolutely. and the exit strategy will be executed this week in the sense that we will be pulling back from our much more active efforts to shape the environment. >> how do you engage in what is combat now in effect with a crazy dictator like gadhafi while you are announcing what you will not do? >> well, i think the administration is playing a little bit too much to those in the congress and in the american people who are worried about us stretched too thin, emphasizing a bit too much things like there won't be a ground invasion. no one expects a ground invasion, or that other people will be paying for this. i think you're right. it is difficult to survive war in a democracyer wadvantage. but in the end, i think the public will stay with this. the trick is for the administration to distinguish between short term and long term goals. short term goal is what was
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achieved in the last few days, preventing a massacre in benghazi and preventing and denying gadhafi the ability to slaughter those who have stood up to his dictatorship. we can do it from the air, we need to step up more american air strikes on ground forces, but we can do that. then say there's a longer term goal, which is to get rid of gadhafi. and there are other methods to do that. and don't let everyone mix these things up. we are not getting rid of gadhafi with air power. everybody knows that. let's distinguish between short and long term goals. >> john boehner thinks he found a contradiction in his dear mr. president letter. he said you stated that libyan leader moammar gadhafi mug, that's a u.s. policy goal, but the u.n. resolution the u.s. helped develop and sign onto makes clear regime change is not part of this mission. boehner thinks that contradiction is irreconcilable. >> i think it is a complete
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straw. these are not inconsistent. the u.n. resolution is what turned this around, what got the world involved, what prevented a massacre in benghazi, and i don't think the republicans had been quiet had libyan leaders swept through the country and slaughtered so many people who were standing up to his dictatorsh dictatorship. it may not go as far as we want, and we have to address the issue of gadhafi in other ways, but what everyone is misreading about this resolution is it explicitly permits arming the rebels. exempts them from the arms embargo. it in fact provides the tools in that resolution for the long term solution, which is arming the opposition so that we don't have to do this, and we don't have to invade, and we have to be patient. these things are not going to happen overnight. we prevented a slaughter.
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maybe it would have been better if the president hadn't said it so loudly. instead of saying why isn't this resolved, why isn't this going smoothly, it doesn't go smoothly if you want to do it with others, it doesn't go smoothly, but it has greater legitimacy, avoids a lot of problems and allows us to share the burden. >> jamie rubin, thanks for being here. >> nice to be with you. monday, president obama sent a letter to congress that said by the way, we're going into libya. today, house speaker john boehner as i noted responded with a letter of his own, reading additionally in part i and many other members of the house of representatives are troubled that u.s. military resources were committed to war without clearly defining for the american people, the congress and our troops what the mission in libya is and what america's role is in achieving that mission, a united nations security council resolution does not substitute for a u.s. political and military strategy. joining me now, huffington post senior political editor, msnbc
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analyst, howard fineman. thanks for joining me. >> hi, lawrence. >> howard, does speaker boehner have the pulse of the nation in the sense of dissatisfaction with the way this has been explained? >> i don't know that he has the pulse of the nation, but he has a point. and checking with the boehner staff a few minutes ago, they hadn't heard back from the president. i think there are questions here beusbackba r f esen a w tredey partlyn t notion as he sai in 2002th hwa'tgast alwars, he was against dumb wars, and he wanted planning and forethought, and he wanted context, and he wanted a sense of why we were doing what we were doing publicly debated, intellectually thought through and consistent. i think, you know, if there's doubt in the minds of the american people, it's because there seems to be an ad hoc
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nature to this. we're not clear how this fits into the overall theory of diplomacy and war in the 21st century, and, you know, boehner is doing it for totally partisan reasons, let's say that. but i think he may have a point. >> especially when you get to that question of the mission not being clearly defined. boehner never had a problem with that in iraq. >> of course not. >> and a majority of the american people did not have a problem with that in iraq. so we may be experiencing a little inconsistency in political leaders and in the public. >> absolutely. and the notion that the republicans are saying we want to be informed, we want the clear plan, we want the rationale, we want the end game, all the things boehner is demanding now are things that george w. bush never provided. don't forget, lawrence, it seems like ancient history that when
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we went into iraq, there was talk of a quick solution, there was talk about the happy iraqis, there was talk about all of the nation building happening almost overnight. none of it happened. and george bush had pretty much nothing but contempt for congress. now it's interesting to watch the republicans on the other side demanding the kind of accountability that they never asked of george w. bush. >> and that's where politics is never fair, is that you can never get one party, especially in this case the republicans on this whole issue of clearly military mission, to be in any way consistent when the shoe is suddenly on the other foot. and so we're seeing newt gingrich and the republican candidates for president all lis he,ey try to target barack obama politically, aren't they? >> completely so.
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they gave george w. bush a complete blank check, and george bush was heading into an adventure we still haven't seen the end of. here the clear, narrow mission if barack obama would only expand on it is that we're trying to prevent, the united states and the allies and united nations and arab league were trying to prevent a humanitarian disaster in which moammar gadhafi, one of the craziest dictators on the planet may have killed 100,000 people in eastern libya. that was the motivating force here, and that's the clearest mission one could possibly state. but even if we prevent gadhafi from doing that, and even if gadhafi leaves as hillary clinton is demanding he do, what happens next, who moves in? is it the united nations, is it the arab league? the rebels in eastern libya? who's going to be doing that. these are things i think the president also needs to spell
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out. and i think he's missing a beat here not doing it. yes, there's the humanitarian mission, but he's got to put this in larger context, because what the american people expect of barack obama, what he was elected for was a sense of coherence, vision, diligence, intellectual roe coherence that we haven't quite seen. >> howard fineman, thanks for joining us. >> thank you, lawrence. coming up, will the republican party win the fight against healthcare reform only to lose the war? tonight, why congressman anthony weiner says the public option could be coming back. he joins me next. and michele bachmann celebrated home schooling day in iowa by bragging about how she home schooled five of her children for a time. let's hope the kids didn't listen when she talked about american history. that and an unexpected name threw his hat into the ring to
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she said once i use my fame to help people or a cause. her fame was aids research. elizabeth taylor's humanitarian legacy coming up. a year ago, the republican party predicted the end of healthcare as we know it. when the president signed the healthcare reform bill into law. but might republicans fight to dismantle reform actually mean the return of the public option? congressman anthony weiner is next.
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the public option is back, maybe. it's back in the news, back in the healthcare fight, and yes, the healthcare fight is, of course, still going on. the healthcare law has had a rough first year. the new republican controlled house voted to repeal it. 27 states are currently challenging constitutionality in court. polls show now that most americans don't like it. 59% of people to be exact according to a poll just released are against it. 43% of them think it is too lib. perhaps most damning is that the people it was intended to help are not eager to make it work for them. t only 12,000 enrolled.
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perhaps they want it, but premiums in some states can cost more than $1500 a month. congressman anthony weiner who will join me in a moment thinks there could be an upside to the beating the healthcare law is taking, especially in court. he believes the supreme court will rule against the individual mandate requiring everyone to buy health insurance, and then in a fit of optimism, congressman wienner says having the mandate declared unconstitutional would be a good thing because it would open the door for the public option. joining me now, democratic congressman from new york, anthony weiner, ever the optimist who represents parts of brooklyn and queens. thanks for joining us. >> thank you for that gloomy introduction. >> walk me through this. let's assume, by the way supreme court will find that mandate unconstitutional? >> because recently they've been an extension of the corporate ring of the republican party.
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despite the clear letter of the law that you and i talked about before, clarence tom us who is making money off trying to defeat healthcare, i believe this is virtually the same supreme court that ruled in bush v gore. i think they will do what the republicans tell them to. i caution viewers, i don't think it is that big a deal. very few people given the option to buy health insurance, given subsidies, say no. in romney care in massachusetts, .67% said no. i believe the handwriting is on the wall that the supreme court is going to do that. >> what do you make of the current implement agency of the bill, and you don't see consumers rushing to afford themselves of its benefits. we have 3% of the number that
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the administration anticipated using the high risk pool, 97% who could use it say no thanks. >> well, the overall on the one year anniversary of the bill, overall numbers are very good. millions of seniors are getting help with their prescription drug coverage. millions of family members of younger americans are getting care, people getting preventive service that didn't get them before. high risk pool is more complicated because people have to wait six months after losing their job or start looking for work to get in high risk pools and as you pointed out, they are expensive. i think frankly when you separate out the rhetoric of this fight, and a lot of the things my republican friends are saying are simply not true and the substance of people getting care, substance of the bill is doing fine. but we are losing the rhetorical battle and in some cases because many of my colleagues aren't willing to fight it. >> congressman, i turn to you
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libya quickly. your colleague, dennis kucinich, said he thought what the president has done verjs on or may be impeachable offense. >> well, he is going too far, but his overall premise is right, that the president should have come to congress for approval. i generally am supportive. i think he is trying to strike a balance. we shouldn't take the lead and i don't think we are here. there is no doubt we are not potd plants. we should have been asked for what is essentially engagement of war. i don't think it is impeachable offense, because frankly it is a tough call. i don't think it is impeachable. i think dennis is right, the president should have come to congress and asked for permission. >> john boehner's letter to the president saying how dare you set us off in something with objectives that aren't 100% clear to every one of us at this exercise. that's a little hypocritical
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coming from the speaker? >> well, let's remember what that speaker put on the floor of congress last week while this libya thing was blowing up. he decided what we should vote on is de-funding national public radio, rather than using the floor to do something important, like bring the republican healthcare to the floor or have legitimate debate on what to do in libya. but he starts ringing his hands about there hasn't been congressional consultation is outrageous, considering he rolled over for eight years of president bush doing much, much worse. >> congressman, thank you for joining us. >> thank you, lawrence. a new report shows most american catholics favor gay rights. that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that has listened to me about american catholics. that's in tonight's "rewrite." first, another republican you've never heard of announces he is running for president.
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that's very good.
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we are attacking libya and gadhafi. how do you get odyssey dawn out of that. they say there's a way they come up with random words that are put together for the mission. i thought that's fascinating. watch. i think you'll find it
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fascinating as well. >> we asked last night and you delivered. in the last 48 hours, you have come up with hundreds of names that are better than operation odyssey dawn. a reminder of the absurdly complex rules of naming this operation as laid down by the pentagon. the first word in this case must begin with o. the second word must start with the letter a through f. you posted more than 800 of these ideas on our website. tonight, we feature some of the most positive takes on what president obama is doing, including this from g. wood in hawaii, who before renaming it asked this question of her fellow workers. how else would anyone with a
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sense of decency want the president of the united states to have responded in this particular situation? her choice? operation obama cares. among the best of the rest, tom gave us operation oasis dawning, operation oppression denied from dave, anita submitted operation opportunity freedom, and drifhorn chose operation overwhelming courage in honor of the military. read more at our blog, still to come, tim pawlenty, my pick to be presidential nominee has catching up to do as a new poll has timmy coming in sixth in the republican field. and at a time when prejudice and fear dominated the conversation about aids at a time when the american president
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would not say the word aids. elizabeth taylor bravely changed that conversation. her legacy coming up. it bringss s it hit helps the lhe of companipanies like the she smallestt ofof th ththat lets yos your employeloy, pa and custcustomersvate and sharee
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the republican party finally has its first official candidate running for the 2012 presidential inauguration. fred carter, former adviser to presidents ford, reagan, and george h.w. bush filed papers. he is the first openly gay candidate. >> i am pro-choice, i am for immigration reform. i want to be a different kind of republican, the kind of republican i grew up with. i consider myself progressive. the last progressive republican president was 100 years ago, theodore roosevelt. >> now we know who is going to lose the republican inauguration, but who has a chance of winning it.
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joining me now, cbs political correspondent and author of "then everything changed" stunning alternate histories, jeff greenfield. you were television's first liberal, on bill buckley's tv show decades and decades ago at the end of 45 minutes of him giving america everything it needed to know about the conservative perspective, jeff greenfield would be given five or seven minutes to change our minds? >> it was interesting. younger, you can see how different i was, and at a different voice, having just come off robert kennedy's tragic campaign, i qualified. he was a wonderful guy, and -- >> who? >> buckley. if you start your television career debating william buckley, it is like hitting against sandy cofax. >> speaking of little league, ,
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have a few questions. the republicans in the polls. let's look at where they are on a screen somewhere. there it is. mitt romney, 20%, mike huckabee, 20%, sarah palin, 13%, newt gingrich, 11%, ron paul 8%. what's the next screen. tim pawlenty who i think will get it. mitch daniels, rick santorum, haley barbour. i look at this poll, am perfectly comfortable picking the winner. here is the easiest question you ever had on tv. am i crazy? >> no, but putting those numbers on shows you're a victim. i once called these things the crack cocaine of political journalism. if it were october, then you would be perfectly justified in clicking the computer every five minutes to see the latest numbers from ohio. this is march of 2011. this is nonsense.
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this is a name recognition poll. they mean nothing. i will say to you what i said on my former network, cnn, if you are a network, you have 24 hours to fill. you may as well follow it. it increases unemployment. it is meaningless. >> my guy who i'm picking to win is at 3%. i am ignoring the poll, looking at it saying pawlenty has no prohibitive negatives and all the rest of them have serious prohibitive negative they won't be able to get past. >> fine, except look, 30 seconds, the premise of this book. >> is that everything changed. >> the point is, history turns on a dime, over and over again, little twists of fate have given us different presidents. john kennedy came seconds away from being killed in palm beach as president elect by a suicide
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bomber, that's true. the idea in march of 2011 we are going to look and say well, yes, i think 16 months from now this guy has a shot. you know what, what hl minken used to say to critics, it is fine, but i think the need to know it before we know it, what's less than a sin. >> we're all sinners. >> okay. mr. donald trump, if he takes the republican stage in a primary debate, how does anyone else get any coverage? >> what i will say is this, i would pay to cover the debates between donald trump, michele bachmann. one thing you have to remember, if all these people come in, fred carter, herman cain, john bolton, the only time they have to debate, they will have to tweet. you won't have a minute to answer, you will have 140
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characters. this is what i mean, we are in a silly season now when the political press and even as someone like yourself can't wait for this to begin, i once proposed february of the first year after the election should be called national governing month. for one month, people have to think about public policy, which you do better than most people. but i just find this need to hurry up and figure out who's got the advantage kind of wacky. i do agree with you, though, that most of the republican potential wannabes, whatever you call them, do have individual serious debilitating problems. but you know what? i think if you go back in history, you might have been able to say that about some people that wound up in the oval office. >> i am banning any negative comment about trump on the show until he declares the candidacy. i don't want anyone to discourage him to run. it would ruin what we do here.
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>> you are blessed to get to cover it. >> jeff knows more about politics than i will, which is why i am going to read "then everything changed" by jeff greenfield. thanks for joining us tonight. >> a pleasure. coming up, a new study shows american catholics are more supportive of gay marriage than the general public. then why do political pundits think ka thol sichl is the beek of conservativism. that's in the "rewrite." and elizabeth taylor's acting and stardom made her famous, it was her activism in the fight against aids that made her a genuine american hero. more on elizabeth taylor's humanitarian legacy coming up. so you have five brothers. tough being the only girl. aw, there's the man of the house. who's this ? this is rufus.
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n survey shows wt he in a mt cdilshi isothamo arin catholics think. why all the political pundits are wrong about the catholic vote, that's in the "rewrite." d in 2001, presen cltorent ezath taylor with the presidential citizens medal for her invaluable role in the fight against aids. fellow activist kenneth cole will join me to remember elizabeth, as will her friend, debbie reynolds. that's coming up. gistics. gistics. ben? the ups guy? no, you see ben, i see logistics. logistics? think--ben is new markets. ben is global access-- china and beyond. ben is a smarter supply chain. ben is higher margins. happier customers... everybody wins. logistics. exactly. see you guys tomorrow. [ male announcer ] how could a luminous protein in jellyfish,
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in the "rewrite" tonight, it is time to rewrite political pundits and perhaps your understanding of american catholics. political pundits everywhere, including on this network, are constantly talking about the so-called catholic vote, as if it is more conservative than the norm, as if it is somehow different than the norm, a subset worth describing in and of itself, the catholic vote. i have for years invade against this thinking, pointing out they support abortion rights in the same proportion as the rest of the country does, but getting political pundits to use facts instead of clichés has been no easy task. so the cliché remains in our political discussion that catholics are more conservative than the general population. please know from this point forward that every time you hear
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a pundit say that, he does not know who he is talking about. a valuable addition to our understanding of the thinking of american catholics has arrived in the form of a new study about catholic attitudes on gay and lesbian issues. the big finding here according to robert jones, one of the authors of the study, is that american catholics are at least five points more supportive than the general public across a range of gay and lesbian issues. let's begin where any study of catholics must, sin. a majority of catholics, 56%, believe that sexual relations between two adults of the same gender is not a sin. repeat. not a sin. that's ten points more than the general population. catholics also score higher levels of support for these
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issues, nearly three quarters, 73%, favor laws that would protect gay and lesbian people against discrimination in the workplace. 63% of catholics support allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. 63% of catholics. 60% of catholics support allowing gays and lesbian couples to adopt children. 60% of catholics in favor of gay adoptions. now, you would never, ever know this listening to the way catholic voter attitudes arer roen usually discussed by pundits, and catholics are more supportive of recognition of same sex relationships than any other group of christians, and the general population. nearly three quarters of catholics support allowing gay marriage or same sex civil
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unions. only 22% say there should be no legal recognition of gay couples' relationships. and catholics don't like the way the catholic church and other religions treat the issue of homosexuality. 70% of american catholics say that messages from america's places of worship contribute to higher rates of suicide among gay and lesbian youth. 70% of catholics think that messages from our churches actually contribute to the suicide rate of gay and lesbian kids. well, what is this catholic group? is this some weird subset of the population, some little cult? did i forget to mention that catholic is the largest single religion in the united states? the largest! so the people we're talking
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about here, as much as glenn beck, sarah palin and ann coulter want to deny it are real americans, they are liberal americans. they are liberal catholic americans. they're not some weird lefty cult. 70% of the people in the biggest religion in america believe that america's places of worship contribute to higher rates of suicide among gay and lesbian youth. 56% of the people in the biggest religion in america believe that homosexuality is not a sin. and 74% of the biggest religion in america supports marriage or civil unions for gay people. when glenn beck and sarah palin say people that think that are not real americans, understand that glenn beck and sarah palin are slandering three quarters of american catholics, and when glenn beck slanders those millions and millions and millions of liberal american catholics, he does so because he
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believes he is religiously superior to them. he believes he achieved this superiority by becoming a mormon, a religion founded in upstate new york by a polygamist that insisted that every known branch of christianity, including ka thol sichl is wrong. beck didn't invent religious superiority, and what beck knows nothing about is what real americans actually think. we put almost three million americans to work... ...adding nearly 400 billion dollars to the economy. generated over two and a half million kilowatts of electricity... ...enough energy to power a quarter of america. heated 57 million u.s. homes. simmered grandma's chicken noodle soup. melted tons of recycled glass. roasted millions of coffee beans.
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provided electricity for nearly 29 million home computers. heated your bathwater. cooked your takeout. lit your way home. we helped america import less of its energy. cleared the air by burning cleaner than other fuel sources, with less pollutants and no mercury. and tomorrow, we could do even more. we're cleaner, domestic, abundant and ready now. we're america's natural gas. the smarter power today. learn more at
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cones can dry out quickly.
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it is the end of an era. wasn't just her beauty and stardom, it was her
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humanitarianism. she put a face on hiv, aids. she was funny, she was generous. she made her life count. those are the words of barbara strie sand, morning the loss of elizabeth taylor. in 1985, elizabeth taylor helped create the american foundation for aids research after her close friend, actor rock hudson, died of aids. since then, they have raised more than $325 million for research. elizabeth taylor traveled the world, calling attention to the epidemic. she made repeated visits to congress, pushing for more federal funding for aids fighting efforts. >> i'm here to speak about a national scandal, a scandal of neglect, indifference, and abandonment. yes, we have made some progress in developing treatment, but
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nowhere near enough. people still get sick. people die in droves. we need more basic research, and god, we need a vaccine. >> i first met elizabeth taylor at a small family dinner party at gregory peck's house. to my luck, he sat me beside elizabeth. the next couple hours was the most fun i ever had sitting beside a dinner companion i just met. she didn't make small talk, she was sharp, funny, mesmerizing. when she discovered i worked in the senate, she immediately went to memories of life as a senate wife, the only movie star that had such memories. she told delightful, self dep ri indicating stories about life as a political wife that respects for privacy doesn't allow me to repeat. i am certain everyone that had a moment with elizabeth taylor has similar fond memories. two people who have spent much
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more time with elizabeth taylor are joining me now, amfar's chairman of the board, kenneth cole, and on the phone, a dear friend of elizabeth taylor, academy award nominated actress, the one, the only, debbie reynolds. debbie reynolds, tell us what you're feeling looking back on the career of elizabeth taylor? >> well, it was an extraordinary career. i have known elizabeth since we were both 17 years old. went to school on the mgm lot together. she was always a big star when i was just beginning, and we became good friends. and were for many, many years, and then she was always a great beauty of our time, of our generation. there was no one more glamorous and sexual than elizabeth, women loved her and men loved her and i know because my husband did, too. and her love for the children,
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her children is endearing. she was quite a girl. she was a great girl. >> debbie, the great beauties and sex symbols of cinema are not often taken seriously as actresses, but hear was elizabeth taylor that delivered performances at certain points in her career that, especially virginia woolf, that nobody expected of her earlier in her career. >> that's right, and "cat on a hot tin roof." elizabeth began so young, then she grew up, and not every woman female star can overcome her great beauty. you know, she was so gorgeous, her eyes were mesmerizing. you could hardly -- you said you had dinner with her, you could hardly take your eyes off her, besides being funny, she was cryptic, a great character.
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she was a lovely actress and worked many years to be good. she was very talented. >> kenneth cole, she cashed in her chips, she used her fame for money, but it was not money for herself, to help collect money for amfar. tell us where they would have been without elizabeth taylor at the outset? >> it didn't exist before elizabeth taylor. she founded it. even before that, she found her voice, which she so articulatly did so often in her career. said things others wouldn't and that others hadn't. she was unique and profound. she was so compelling, people paid attention when elizabeth smoke. she had an important message to say when few were. nobody was speaking about aids in the mid '80s. ronald reagan didn't mention it publicly until 1987 after 40,000
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people had died. but she did, and she inspired others to find their way, find their voice, and in very compelling ways. the biggest problem with aids then, and not that different, was t was the stigma. if you spoke about it, you were gay, iv drug user. i was a single male designer. i joked everybody would assume i was haitian. but the fact is maybe because i wasn't, i was comfortable. but what she did was extraordinary and she did it through her career as an actress and as an advocate. we raised a lot of money. she believed in the notion of a global crisis. this wasn't an american pandemic, this was a global crisis. and we dropped american, and now we are the foundation for aids research. if anyone was affected, we were


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